Last fall I enrolled in a seminar focusing on non-fiction accounts of lives affected intimately by autism. The seminar culminated in a research project titled Justifying Existence: Positioning the Autistic Subject in a World of Capitalist Expectation. The paper details attempts by individuals with autism to enter the workforce, arguing that economic contribution is a necessary component for recognition as an equal and autonomous human being in 21st century, post-industrial western culture, and that self-sufficiency all too often encroaches on the value a culture places on the lives of human beings, specifically those who are displaced and disadvantaged.
The seminar consisted of autobiographical accounts from both parents of individuals with autism and the individuals themselves, as well scholarly essays and works of poetry contributed by poets affected by autism. Works include:
Scholarly Essay Collections: Worlds of Autism, ed. Joyce Davidson and Michael Orsini; Autism and Representation, ed. Mark Osteen; as well as many scattered essays from various publications.
Autobiographies from a parent’s perspective: Ron Suskind’s Life, Animated; Glen Finland’s Next Stop; James C. Wilson’s Weather Reports from the Autism Front; Clara Claiborne Park’s The Siege and Exiting Nirvana; Kate Rankin’s Growing Up Severely Autistic: They Call Me Gabriel; Arthur Fleischmann’s Carly’s Voice (with contributions from Carly Fleischmann); Georgina J. Derbyshire’s Stand Up For Autism; Kim Stagliano’s All I Can Handle: I’m No Mother Theresa; Judy Barron’s There’s A Boy in Here (with sizable contributions from Sean Barron); Mark Osteen’s One of Us;
Autobiographies from writers with autism: Kamran Nazeer’s Send In the Idiots; Ido Kedar’s Ido In Autismland; Temple Grandin’s Emergence: Labelled Autistic and Animals in Translation; Dawn Prince-Hughes’ Songs of the Gorilla Nation;
Poetry collections from writers with autism: Tito Mukhopadhyay’s I’m Not a Poet but I Write Poetry and sections of The Mind Tree and How Can I Talk if my Lips Don’t Move?
A link to my paper can be found HERE.